PB RRP $19.95
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie
Despite being first published in 1994, the story of Falling Apart does not appear to have dated at all (except, perhaps, that there are no mobile phones anywhere). The themes explored in this novel: first love, early sexual experiences, depression and death are universal regardless of generation. If you suspect this book will be depressing, let me reassure you that the cleverness of the writing overcomes these heavy issues. The main character Tina is so easy for the reader to empathise with that we willingly go on her journey.
It's a grim beginning to the book. Tina has broken up with her boyfriend and is going to commit suicide. In the very first chapter she takes the pills and they begin to work. The next chapter travels back to when she first met Simon. It's a clever technique because, although we know her relationship with Simon will fail, we don't know if she's been successful with the suicide. Will anyone find her? As we read on and get closer to Tina, we hope more and more that someone has.
As well as her relationship with Simon, the story deals with Tina's considerable family issues. There is also an exploration of socioeconomic factors with the differences between Tina and 'posh' Simon. There's a lot of sex in the book (most of it in a cemetery!) and this may influence the age of reader. It's a book for girls, probably fifteen and upwards. Written in third person, the voice of Tina is so strong that the reader keenly feels her humiliation and sadness. Just a warning: keep a box of tissues handy. This one is a tear jerker!
Jacqueline Wilson lives in the UK and has sold over thirty million copies of her books worldwide. She has won several awards for her many novels for children and young adults.